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Thursday, February 25, 2016

2014 Black Hills Moto-Camping-Fishing Adventure - Part 6

That same day that I rode Iron Mountain Road 3 times in both directions, I packed up my campsite and headed towards the Badlands.  I stopped briefly at Wall Drug for a bite to eat.

My timing was perfect as I arrived at the Badlands just before sunset.  The shadows were long, which made the landscape even more dramatic.

Some panoramic photos that I took with my phone:

More sunset photos:

I ended up stopping at a hotel for the night near Chamberlain, SD I think.  Somewhere along the way, my bike hit 25,000 miles.

If you have the option between stopping at a BP, Shell, or Kum & Go, which one are you going to choose.  Insert your own joke here.

Along the way, I took a short detour to see the Jolly Green Giant in Blue Earth, MN for the first time.

Back in the 1970s, I'm sure there were many committee meetings in a smoky conference room to ensure this view was non-offensive.

While I did stick to I-90 most of the way back from the Badlands, I still found a few last curves on the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway before arriving home.

In spite of the unpredictable weather and my wet boots, it was an awesome trip.  I didn't take a comparable one in 2015 and have nothing planned (yet) for 2016.  These blogposts are a reminder that I really need to do that.  So do you.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

2014 Black Hills Moto-Camping-Fishing Adventure - Part 5

The next day was the best day of the trip (except for my damp boots).  Like a blessing in disguise, I lost the handle to my fishing reel so all I was going to do all day was ride, and ride I did.

I left my windshield in the tent so I could finally enjoy the breeze.

More buffalo!

I enjoyed the sights.

The real highlight of the day (and the trip) was riding Iron Mountain Road.  I had ridden it before but never when it was so open and deserted.  Without people in front of me, I could go at my own pace (which is to say "not slow").  I rode it back and forth 3 times in a row!!!  I've ridden the Tail of the Dragon (blog post here), which I believe is more technical but I find Iron Mountain Road to simply be more fun.  By the way, check out the gas prices in the first photo below.

Pigtail bridge!

I love how the tunnels frame Mount Rushmore.

Sadly, all good things must end and I had to pack up my campsite and head out if I was going to make it to the Badlands for sunset.

I'll wrap up tomorrow with the ride home.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

2014 Black Hills Moto-Camping-Fishing Adventure - Part 4

If you've ever been to Sturgis you know the weather in South Dakota can turn on a dime.  As the sun started to set, the sky got weird.  I figured my tent was a very poor place to take shelter so I headed back to Mount Rushmore where they have covered parking.

I ate there and waited out the storm.  It was a fast moving system with heavy rain and lots of lightning.

I hung out a little while longer as the sky darkened over the wet faces of the presidents.

The next morning was sunny and clear.  Once again, that wouldn't last.

My biggest mistake of the trip was here.  I stopped to fish was was told by another fisherman that he was catching lots of trout at the base of these falls (below).  I had never caught trout before and didn't know what lures to use (I did not have fly fishing equipment) but I was excited as I've never caught a fish as big as a trout before.  I spent a lot of time watching trout jump out of the water and getting a few nibbles but I never caught any fish and lost a few lures.  The mistake I made was getting my boots too wet as I was walking around in the shallow water.  They got wet on the inside and were the only pair of footwear I had on my trip.

Defeated and mocked by the trout, I got back on my bike in wet boots and the sky was once again doing weird things.  It started to rain and I was heading towards the storm.  Then the rain seemed to get heavier and I though it felt like hail.  I made a quick U-turn to run away and seek shelter.  I found this place just in time.  Less than a minute after parking my bike under the overhang (with permission I might add), hail pummeled the ground.  It wasn't huge but it wasn't exactly small either.  Keep in mind, this was June 1st and ice chunks were falling from the sky.

Of course, the sun came out after the storm but all my gear was wet, my socks and boots were wet, and it was getting late.  I stopped to fish barefoot in the sun near my campsite and let my gear dry a little on the rocks.

Back at camp, I tried to dry my boots and I changed my socks.  I rode around and took a few photos that evening but my boots never fully dried and that was a problem.  I do not recommend getting river water inside your only pair of motorcycle boots while in the middle of your vacation.  It took a week or two of applying foot powder daily after I got home before my feet were back to normal.

The weather finally cooperates (for a little while) tomorrow.
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